Does Cooking Spray Have Calories?

Cooking spray (also known as a non-stick cooking spray) is a pretty popular substitute for other cooking oils, especially for individuals who are calorie-counting and trying to be mindful of the things that they consume.

Fortunately, all cooking spray has much fewer calories than butter or olive oil, meaning that it is a pretty healthy alternative for those looking to watch what they eat.

Does Cooking Spray Have Calories?

It’s also far more convenient and only requires spraying for a couple of seconds to cover a pan.

However, the nutritional label can be pretty misleading with cooking sprays. Some claim they have zero calories yet this is not always the case, especially if you spray the cooking oil for longer than one-fourth of a second.

If you want to learn whether cooking spray has calories, this article is a great place to start!

What Is Cooking Spray?

Cooking spray is a commercial product that utilizes pressurized gas to deliver cooking oil, or another type of lubricant, to the surface of the cookware. 

A lot of cooking sprays typically feature the same ingredients: 

  • A propellant such as carbon dioxide actively helps to release the spray
  • A lubricant such as soybean oil or canola oil
  • An emulsifier to bind the other ingredient

Main Uses Of Cooking Spray

Cooking sprays have remained a kitchen staple since the middle of the previous century.

Since the first patent for one of these sprays was granted in the 1950s, the easy-to-use spray oil has developed a multitude of important uses that can prove to be very helpful.

For example, if you are trying to prevent food from getting stuck to a griddle, cooking spray can come in very handy.

This is because it creates an even and consistent oil coating that allows you to use less than if you were to simply pour oil on.

After all, an evenly-greased pan means that your baked goods won’t end up sticking to the pan! 

You can also use cooking spray for the following purposes:

  • Holding parchment paper in place
  • Protect rising dough
  • Spraying onto your hands to shape patties
  • Prevent sticky ingredients from getting stuck (including molasses or honey)
  • Remove baked goods without tearing them

The Truth About Cooking Spray Calories

To reiterate: cooking sprays are an excellent alternative to using oil or butter if you are looking to preserve some calories. Yet they are not calorie-free!

Turn to the nutrition label on your cooking spray and you might be a little surprised to discover there are zero calories in a single serving.

Well, as it turns out, the majority of cooking sprays use a serving size of around one-third of a second to accurately calculate calories!

It’s easy to get confused since the label says zero calories, but the ingredients typically contain oil. As a result, it’s pretty safe to say that oils tend to contain at least some calories.

In reality, there are around eight calories for every one-second spray. And despite the label distorting what a realistic serving size truly is, using a cooking spray versus oil is still a great way to cut down on calories.

Remember Rounding Rules

If a serving has over 60 calories, it will be rounded to the nearest 10 according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules.

Let’s say a serving size for a particular food product is 66 calories. In this case, it will be automatically rounded up to 70 calories. 

Cooking spray is classified as zero calories thanks to rounding rules and lower serving size. If the serving size is pretty close to 0, you can round it down to 0 calories.

A cooking spray serving is pretty small (usually around ¼ second of a spray) meaning it can be rounded down to 0. 

Are Cooking Spray Calories Something To Worry About?

Although cooking spray does have calories, it is not enough to truly worry about! 

Even if you use a cooking spray for 8 seconds, it will likely only come to around 60 calories.

In the case that you need to spray a bigger pan to prepare a meal that serves 6 people, it would amount to 10 calories for each serving which isn’t too bad.

This means using cooking spray is not something you should panic about when it comes to meeting your daily calorie goals, and that you can simply carry on using your favorite cooking spray as often as you want.

Tracking Cooking Spray Calories: Yes Or No?

If the cooking spray does contain calories, you may be wondering whether you have to count it in your daily calorie allowance. 

The short answer: it’s completely up to you! 

Some people prefer to track every single calorie that passes their lips while others feel that the calories obtained from cooking spray won’t make all that much difference.

Again, because cooking spray calories are pretty low, you don’t need to worry about them.

If you are actively counting your calories, utilizing cooking spray for your needs is an excellent way to go! As we mentioned above, a single-second spray contains approximately 8 calories and 1 gram of fat. 

In direct comparison, a tablespoon of olive oil and butter contains over 100 calories and anywhere between 12 and 14 grams of fat (respectively).

If you want to be as accurate as you can with your calories, you have the chance to estimate all the extra calories. However, it’s not always worth the effort!

Are There Issues With Cooking Spray?

While it’s a relatively low-calorie item, one of the main drawbacks of using a cooking spray is the amount of residue buildup.

It can adhere quickly to the surface of pans or a griddle before you have a chance to clean it off. Fortunately, you can prevent this by promptly cleaning your pans.

A Summary

To answer the question: yes, all cooking spray has calories. However, it does not contain as much as standard cooking oil does.

This means that anyone eating in a calorie deficit or simply being mindful of the things they are eating can use cooking spray without worrying about anything!

Jenna Priestly
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